Productivity software is readily available on new computers and relatively easy for new computer users to learn. Fortunately, these tools are also some of the most versatile ways to put computers to work making your personal and professional life more efficient. The authors believe that learning disconnected software procedures out of context is not the most effective way to become a technologically proficient teacher. Students will remember what they learn longer if they learn it for a real purpose. This chapter, therefore, is not intended as a systematic tutorial. For such detailed direction, students are encouraged to consult the Help features of the specific software they are using or other software procedure manuals. Instead, this chapter serves as an overview of the educational possibilities of the most common productivity applications: word processing, spreadsheet, concept mapping and data- base applications.
Most productivity software is now available as an integrated suite of software from one publisher, designed to function together to provide the user the most effective options and compatibility. All of the tools in the suite share some features in common so that the user can move easily among the suite components. The terms in Table 2.1 describe functions common to most productivity software tools. These commands are generally available from pulldown menus, buttons on a toolbar, and keyboard shortcuts (see Table 2.1).
|TABLE 2.1 Common Productivity Features of Software Suites
BoldAn individual character, a word, or a block of text may be printed in bold type for emphasis.
CenterCentering means automatically placing titles and other text evenly between the left and right margins.
CopyThe user can highlight and copy text already entered in one part of a document to be pasted into another part of the document automatically without having to retype it.
FindGiven the Find command, the software will locate and pause at every occurrence of a particular character, word, phrase, or number in a text.
FooterThe footer is the text at the bottom of a page, such as a page number or section title. Footers may be programmed to appear on all or any number of specified pages.
HeaderThe header is the text at the top of a page; this space can consist of a heading, image, page numbers, or any other text that the user wishes to have appear on every page or specified pages of a document.
MacroA macro is a shortcut for entering frequently used commands by recording and saving a sequence of keystrokes in a file that can be recalled for future use. Each macro is assigned a name that the user types to implement the series of keystrokes or data that it represents.
MarginsThe space around the text at the edge of the paper may be specified, left and right, as well as top and bottom.
PasteThe user can insert text that has been copied or cut from another part of a document without having to retype it.
PrintThe Print command directs the computer to print an entire document, or a portion of it, in multiple copies and various formats.
ReplaceThis command will find every occurrence of a particular character, word, phrase, or number in a document and replace it with another character, word, phrase, or number.
SaveThe Save command copies the document to a disk for storage.
Documents can generally be saved in a variety of formats to be accessible in other software programs or to be displayed on the World Wide Web.
ScrollScrolling is moving quickly through a document vertically or horizontally.
Type StyleType style refers to the font, the design of the characters, and the size of the text.
Underline Characters, words, or blocks of text may be underlined, either continuously (words and spaces) or separately (words only).